National Alliance on Mental Illness
page printed from NAMI Alaska
Frequently Asked Questions
1. I am in a crisis. I am thinking about suicide. Where can I go for help?
If you are experiencing an emotional crisis, family crisis, or having suicidal thoughts talking to someone may help. The National HopeLine Network has trained counselors available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Don't wait. Call Now! 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
You can also call 911, (907) 563-3200 Emergency Services Crisis Line in Anchorage, your physician, or visit your local hospital's emergency room if you believe you are a danger to yourself or others.
2. Where can I find a support group in my area?
NAMI offers education programs and support groups that can assist a person affected with mental illness through their recovery process. Click support group for your local information. Our Affiliates and the families involved with the support groups have been through similar experiences and know of resources in your area to help you cope with your or your family member's illness.
3. Does NAMI offer Legal advice, or have a listing of lawyers?
NAMI Alaska State Office refers legal questions to the Disability Law Center of Alaska. 1-800-478-1234 or Anchorage 907-565-1002, Fairbanks 907-456-1070, Juneau 907-586-1627, and Bethel 907-543-3357.
NAMI National requires attorneys on our Lawyer Referral Panel to complete questionnaires regarding their specialties, fees, education and liability insurance. Communications to the center remain confidential, as does our attorney information. We do not verify qualifications or credentials of attorneys on our panel, and supplement our listings with the Disability Law Directory of the American Bar Association, the Directory of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association Directory and the Directory of Local Pro Bono Programs.
4. How do I file a complaint against a mental health care facility/professional?
Complaints about an individual physician/psychiatrist - If the physician/psychiatrist works for a hospital or agency, you may contact the doctor's supervisor. You can also file a complaint with the state medical board, or if he/she is a member the American Psychiatric Association (APA) (some psychiatrists are members, some are not). The APA might also refer you to its APA District Branch or state psychiatric society.
5. I need a doctor/mental health care facility that specializes in a specific disorder. Can NAMI help me?
NAMI does not provide a list of mental healthcare professionals or treatment facilities. However, NAMI does offer a Fact Sheet called Mental Health Professionals: Who they are and How to find one. You might also wish to contact your Local NAMI Affiliate for information as well.
6. I am/or my friend/family member is newly diagnosed with a brain disorder. What do I do now?
NAMI offers an array of education and training programs and services for consumers, family members, providers and the general public. These programs draw on the experience of mental health consumers and family members who have learned to live well with their illnesses and are eager to help others, as well as the expertise of mental health professionals and educators.
7. Will this medication work better than the one I'm on? Is the combination of medications my doctor prescribed right? Is my dosage too high? Etc.
NAMI's work focuses on support, education, advocacy, and research. We are not a medical facility nor are we qualified to give medical advice about treatment or medication. Please contact your pharmacist, doctor or mental health care professional for guidance on the correct treatment of your specific situation.
8. What are the side effects/recommended dosage of a specific medication?
Click here to view NAMI Fact Sheets about Medication & Treatments.
9. I cannot afford my medication/doctor's fees. Where can I go for financial assistance?
Unfortunately NAMI cannot provide direct financial assistance. As a non-profit organization, NAMI's work focuses on support, education, advocacy, and research.
However, some pharmaceutical companies offer prescription assistance programs for low-income individuals and families. These programs typically require a doctor's consent and proof of financial status. They may also require that you have either no health insurance, or no prescription drug benefit through your health insurance. Click here to view the list of pharmaceutical companies and their contact information.
Your community mental health care center may offer medication and mental health care services on a sliding scale basis. Your Local NAMI Affiliate may be able to help you locate this center.
Also, you may wish to visit the Free & Low Cost Health Care Service Locator that the United States Department of Health & Human Services has available for a list of local services.
10. I don't know how to cope with my friend/family member that has a mental illness. Can NAMI help me?
NAMI offers education programs and support groups that can assist a person affected with mental illness and their family members through their recovery process. Your local NAMI Affiliate can provide more information. NAMI affiliate groups are comprised of consumers and family members who may know of resources in your area to help you cope. Click here to find your local affiliate group. Click here for on-line information on coping tips for spouses and adult children of people with mental illness.
11. My friend/family member won't follow recommended treatment. What can I do to make them follow through?
In the United States, noncompliance is not a crime and therefore medication or therapy is not enforceable except in the case of minors, and those who are a danger to themselves or others.
NAMI offers education programs and support groups that can assist consumers and family members/friends that are affected by mental illness. By visiting the link below, you can find the NAMI group closest to you for more information. The contacts there and the families involved with the support groups have been through similar experiences and know of resources in your area to help you cope with your or your family member's illness.
In extreme cases where a consumer may be a danger to themselves or others, a friend or family member can petition the courts to have the person committed to assisted treatment. Your Local NAMI will have more information particular to your state laws concerning these procedures. Or you may contact the Treatment Advocacy Center for information and guidance through the process.
12. Where can I find housing?
NAMI does not maintain listings of individual treatment facilities or other housing providers. NAMI State offices may be able to offer some suggestions. In addition, you may wish to contact the local office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). They can provide you with information on the Section 811 Program providing supportive housing for persons with disabilities.
13. Where can I go for resocialization purposes or for rehabilitation services?
The National Mental Health Information Center of the Federal Center for Mental Health Services (CMH) has an online, searchable database of facilities and services in each state.
Your Local NAMI Affiliate may also have some suggestions.
14. My friend or family member is in jail due to his/her mental illness. How can we help them?
The National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems, Inc and the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law are designed to deal with the rights of individuals who are dealing with the criminal justice system. They specifically address the needs of incarcerated individuals, whether they are in the correctional system, or hospitalized in a forensic ward.
15. Where can I find statistics about the prevalence of mental illness?
16. Where can I find information about what my insurance/Medicaid/social security benefits will cover?
Questions about insurance coverage should be directed to your provider or to your State Insurance Department.
17. My employer is not treating me fairly because I have a mental illness. What can I do to fight this?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment; state and local government activities; public accommodations; public transportation; telecommunications; and public services. It was signed into law by President George Bush on July 26, 1990. Click here for more information.
18. What does the NAMI acronym stand for?
NAMI, The Nation's Voice on Mental Illness was founded in 1979 as the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. "NAMI" was officially made our corporate name in 1997, after a vote of the membership. This was done after years of discussion that the full name was not person-first language and perpetuated the very stigma we hoped to erase.